WHISTLER BLACKCOMB HOLDINGS INC. REPORTS FIRST QUARTER FISCAL 2011 RESULTS

WHISTLER, BC, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. (TSX: WB) (the "Corporation") today reported financial results for the period from November 9, 2010 to December 31, 2010.  On November 9, 2010, the Corporation completed its initial public offering and concurrently acquired a 75% interest in each of Whistler Mountain Resort Limited Partnership and Blackcomb Skiing Enterprises Limited Partnership (together, the "Partnerships"). The Partnerships carry on the four season mountain resort business and operations ("Whistler Blackcomb") at the Resort Municipality of Whistler. The partial first quarter and the combined full quarter results are both discussed below.

"We are pleased to report strong first quarter results with revenue growth in all resort segment categories. In addition, we have set a new record for Whistler Blackcomb with the highest ever number of season passes and frequency cards sold prior to December 31st," said Dave Brownlie, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Corporation. "We attribute this success to our efforts in the local and regional markets with a strong pre-season campaign that resulted in a 28% increase in local and regional skier visits."

"As expected we are seeing a recovery in skier visits after the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and we expect a return to our historical levels with overall skier visits on track to exceed two million. However, our destination skier visits have not recovered to pre-Olympic levels. Our challenge will be to repeat the success we have achieved with our local and regional campaigns in the international markets to help drive destination skier visits," added Mr. Brownlie. "Importantly, our dividend was set to allow for the variability in a number of factors, and given our business performance, we are confident that we will continue to maintain our current dividend."

Highlights of the Corporation:

  • Fiscal 2011 sales of season passes and frequency cards reached 104,000 units and $34 million to December 31, representing increases of 23% in units and 33% in sales over the comparable quarter in the prior year.

  • For the period from November 9 to December 31, 2010 the Corporation generated EBITDA of $15.2 million on revenues of $42.9 million.  This resulted in $5.9 million of net earnings, or $0.16 per common share.

  • On January 12, 2011, the Corporation declared a dividend of $0.14 per common share, representing a quarterly dividend of $0.24 per share pro-rated for the number of days from November 9 to December 31, 2010

FIRST QUARTER FISCAL 2011 FINANCIAL RESULTS

For the purposes of management's quarterly comparisons, combined results for the full quarter ended December 31, 2010 are compared with the Partnerships' results for the quarter ended December 31, 2009.  The combined results for the quarter ended December 31, 2010 therefore comprise the Corporation's results for the period from November 9 to December 31, 2010 and the Partnerships' results for the period from October 1 to November 8, 2010.

Revenue

Total revenue reached $46.8 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2010, an increase of 10.2% over total revenue for the quarter ended December 31, 2009. This was primarily driven by increased skier visits and increased effective ticket prices.

Operating Expenses

Total operating expenses (resort segment operating expenses, selling, general and administrative and depreciation and amortization) were $45.0 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2010, compared to $38.3 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2009, an increase of 17.5%, primarily driven by: (i) increases in depreciation and amortization expense; and (ii) increases in operating expenses.

Depreciation and amortization expense increased in the current fiscal year as a result of the higher cost of depreciable capital assets following the Corporation's acquisition of Partnerships' depreciable assets at the date of the initial public offering on November 9, 2010. 

Operating expenses increased by 11.1% to $31.4 million for the three months ended December 31, 2010, compared to the three months ended December 31, 2009.  This increase is primarily attributed to labour and benefit costs. The prior year costs included certain one-time recoveries related to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and the current year's first quarter's costs also reflect early season hiring returning to historical levels in anticipation of skier visits returning to normal levels.

Operating Profit and EBITDA

The resort segment operating profit (excluding real estate) reached $8.2 million in the first quarter ended December 31, 2010, an increase of 4.7% over the prior year's resort segment operating profit of $7.8 million due to the increase in skier visits and related activities.

EBITDA for the current quarter remained relatively consistent with same quarter in the prior year, decreasing only slightly by 1.7%, or $0.1 million, primarily due to the wind-down of the Corporation's real estate activity. 

Detailed financial results of the Corporation and Management's Discussion and Analysis as of February 10, 2011 ("MD&A") can be found on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and the Corporation's website at www.whistlerblackcombholdings.com.

Conference Call Information

Management will conduct a conference call on February 10th at 8:30am (EDT) to review the Corporation's first quarter 2011 financial results. The call can be accessed by dialing 1.866.804.6921 (Canada and US) or 1.857.350.1667 (International) prior to the start of the call. The access code is 17931492. A replay of the call will be available until February 17, 2011 and can be accessed at 1.888.286.8010 or 1.617.801.6888(International). The access code for the replay is 21906132. The call will also be archived for a period of 60 days following the call in the Events and Presentations section of the Corporation's website:  www.whistlerblackcombholdings.com.

ABOUT WHISTLER BLACKCOMB

Whistler Blackcomb, the official alpine skiing venue for the Olympic Winter Games, is situated in the Resort Municipality of Whistler located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia 125 kilometres (78 miles) from Vancouver, British Columbia. North America's premier four-season mountain resort, Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain are two side-by-side mountains, connected by the world record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which combined offers over 200 marked runs, over 8,000 acres of terrain, 14 alpine bowls and three glaciers. Whistler Blackcomb receives on average over 1,090 centimetres (430 inches) of snow annually and offers one of the longest ski seasons in North America. In the summer, Whistler Blackcomb offers a variety of activities, including hiking and biking trails, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and sightseeing on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "WB". For more information visit www.whistlerblackcomb.com 

NON-GAAP MEASURES

This press release makes reference to certain financial measures other than those prescribed by Canadian generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP").  These non-GAAP measures are not recognized under GAAP, do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by GAAP and are therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies.  These non-GAAP measures, which include EBITDA, are provided to the reader as additional information to complement GAAP measures and to further understand Whistler Blackcomb's results of operations from management's perspective and as a supplemental measure of performance that highlights trends in the business that may not otherwise be apparent when relying solely on GAAP financial measures.  Such non-GAAP measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of financial information reported under GAAP. Readers should refer to the Corporation's prospectus dated November 2, 2010 (the "Prospectus") and MD&A, which are available on our website and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, for additional details regarding the determination of these non-GAAP measures and reconciliation to financial information reported under GAAP.

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release may contain forward-looking statements or information, within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws, including, but not limited to, the expectations, plans, goals, objectives, assumptions, information or statements about future events or conditions which may prove to be incorrect. Although the Corporation believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements and information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements because the Corporation can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. The forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and assumptions made by the Corporation in light of its experience and perception of current conditions and expected future developments, and are subject to a number of significant risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, general economic, business and market conditions and other risks as are detailed in the Prospectus. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein as anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release, and the Corporation has no intention and assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by applicable Canadian securities laws.


WHISTLER BLACKCOMB HOLDINGS INC.
Interim Consolidated Statements of Earnings and Comprehensive Income
(Unaudited)
(Expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars, except per share amounts and number of shares)

             
    Period from   Period from    
    November 9,   October 1,   Three months
    2010 to   2010 to   ended
    December 31,   November 8,   December 31,
    2010   2010   2009
    (Successor)   (Predecessor)   (Predecessor)
Resort revenue     $  42,668 $  3,902 $  42,096
Real estate revenue    240   -   396
    42,908   3,902   42,492
             
Depreciation and amortization    5,088   1,510   3,995
Resort operating expenses     23,203   8,246   28,296
Real estate expenses     126   53   (105)
Selling, general and administration    4,392   2,574   6,010
    32,809   12,383   38,196
             
Earnings (loss) from operations     10,099   (8,481)   4,296
Disposal gains (losses)     4   (63)   7
Finance income (expense), net      (2,533)   19   5
             
Net earnings (loss) before income tax and non-controlling interest     7,570   (8,525)   4,308
Income tax (expense) benefit      1,122   -   (73)
Non-controlling interest     (2,750)    -    -
Net earnings and comprehensive income    $  5,942 $  (8,525) $  4,235
             
Net earnings per share            
  Basic  $  0.16        
  Diluted   $  0.16        
Weighted average number of common shares            
  Basic    37,867,500        
  Diluted   37,871,60      



WHISTLER BLACKCOMB HOLDINGS INC.
Interim Consolidated Balance Sheets
(Unaudited)
(Expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)

           
    December 31,   September 30,
    2010   2010
    (Successor)   (Predecessor)
Assets        
           
Current assets:        
  Cash and cash equivalents    $ 37,020 $  19,681
  Accounts receivable     11,294   14,244
  Inventory      12,440   10,930
  Prepaid expenses     2,456   1,426
  Due from partner and related parties     -   61,745
  Notes receivable       296   394
    63,506   108,420
Notes receivable      2,963   3,047
Property held for development     2,489   2,609
Property, buildings and equipment      295,267   154,407
Intangible assets      101,841   3,297
Goodwill      288,148   -
Other assets     594   402
  $  754,808 $  272,182
         
Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity        
           
Current liabilities:        
  Accounts payable and accrued liabilities     $ 33,308 $  24,172
  Deferred revenue     37,811   15,725
  Due to partner and related parties     -   72,214
    71,119   112,111
Long-term debt      254,810   -
Future income tax liability      13,951    -
Partners' capital      160,071
Shareholders' equity        
  Common shares     435,180   -
  Contributed surplus    336    -
  Retained earnings    (20,588)   -
    414,928   -
  $  754,808  $  272,182
       



WHISTLER BLACKCOMB HOLDINGS INC.
Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
(Unaudited)
(Expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)

             
    Period from   Period from    
    November 9,   October 1,   Three months
    2010 to   2010 to   ended
    December 31,   November 8,   December 31,
    2010   2010   2009
    (Successor)   (Predecessor)   (Predecessor)
                 
Cash provided by (used in):            
Operations:            
  Net earnings  $ 5,942 $ (8,525) $ 4,235
  Items not involving cash:            
    Non-controlling interest     2,750   -   -
    Depreciation and amortization     5,088   1,510   3,995
    Disposal (gains) losses     (4)   63   (7)
    Stock-based compensation     336   -    -
    Amortization of debt issuance costs     179   -   -
    Future income tax expense (benefit)     (1,122)   -   -
    13,169   (6,952)   8,223
  Recovery of costs through real estate sales     120   -   62
  Acquisition and development of properties    -   -   (193)
  Changes in non-cash operating working capital      14,079   14,272   19,201
    27,368   7,320   27,293
                 
Financing:            
  Proceeds on issuance of common shares     300,000   -   -
  Share issuance costs     (18,930)   -   -
  Proceeds on issuance of long-term debt     261,000   -   -
  Debt issuance costs     (6,369)   -   -
  Distributions to non-controlling interest     (62,968)   -   -
  Advances from (to) partner and related parties, net     (10,661)   349   (5,676)
  Distributions to partners     -   (16,794)   (12,006)
    462,072   (16,445)   (17,682)
                 
Investing:            
  Business acquisition, net of cash acquired      (451,007)   -   -
  Proceeds from sale of property and equipment     -   -   -
  Expenditures on property, buildings and equipment     (1,587)   (728)    -
  Repayment of notes receivable     174   8   53
    (452,420)   (720)   53
                 
Increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents     37,020   (9,845)   9,664
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period       19,681   38,170
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period  $ 37,020 $ 9,836 $ 47,834
           
 

SOURCE Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc.

For further information:

Therese Hayes

Senior IR Consultant for Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc.

thayes@whistlerblackcomb.com     ph: 604-932-7875

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Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc.

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